Soft Deadline for Wage/Hour Data Submission? September 30, 2019, was the deadline for employers to submit EEO-1 Component 2 wage and hour data for 2017 and 2018. Or was it? In a status report filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on September 27, 2019, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission stated that “[s]o long as the Court’s order is in effect stating that the collection will not be complete until it reaches what the Court has determined to be the target response rate,” it will continue to collect Component 2 data. The filing also notes that approximately 40 percent of eligible filers had submitted the data at that point, which is well short of the 72 percent “target response rate.”
Reg Czar Nominated. On October 1, 2019, President Trump announced that he will nominate Paul J. Ray to be administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). Ray has spent the last six months in the acting role as head of OIRA since former administrator Neomi Rao was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Readers are well aware that OIRA is a favorite agency of the Buzz due to the outsized role it plays in the regulatory process. Of particular interest to the Buzz, Ray spent some time at the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) prior to joining OIRA.
OSHA Announces Stakeholder Roundtable. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced this week that on the afternoon of November 7, 2019, it will hold a “a stakeholder meeting to share information on [the stakeholders’] use of leading indicators to improve safety and health outcomes in the workplace.” The meeting is intended to explore ways in which proactive and preventive measures—as opposed to after-the-fact assessments—can be incorporated into employers’ safety and health programs. OSHA will also accept written comments until February 7, 2020.
FMLA RFI. Last week was so busy that we forgot to mention that on September 24, 2019, the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) sent to OIRA a draft request for information (RFI) concerning the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA). This is obviously at the very early stages of a potential rulemaking, and it is not clear at this time what type of information the WHD will be soliciting from stakeholders.
MEPs-merizing News. There were a couple of news items this week related to multiple-employer defined-contribution retirement plans (MEPs):
- First, the Employee Benefits Security Administration association retirement plan rule went into effect on September 30, 2019. The rule allows certain employer groups and professional employer organizations to be considered “employers” for purposes of establishing MEPs under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974.
- Second, on October 1, 2019, the public comment docket closed on the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) proposed regulations creating an exception to the “unified plan” or “one bad apple” rule that can disqualify an entire MEP if a single employer fails to satisfy IRS qualification requirements. The exception is intended to increase access to MEPs and encourage the wider availability of workplace retirement plans.
National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Did you know that October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM)? The annual initiative to encourage inclusive workplace policies and practices focused on individuals with disabilities dates back to 1945. With wounded soldiers returning from the war, Congress passed a law declaring the first week of every October “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” In 1962, Congress removed the word “Physically” to acknowledge individuals with all types of disabilities. Finally, in 1988, Congress expanded the initiative from one week to the entire month of October, while also changing its name to NDEAM. This year’s theme is “The Right Talent, Right Now.”
In conjunction with NDEAM, the DOL provides best practices for advancing disability inclusion in the workplace. The DOL’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) is also encouraging federal contractors to apply for OFCCP’s Excellence in Disability Inclusion Award by November 1. Sadly, this year’s NDEAM commences shortly after the passing of Marca Bristo, a leading advocate for individuals with disabilities who was honored last week in the U.S. Senate for her amazing accomplishments.